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Blooming history

Updated: 2013-03-31 17:55
By Zhang Lei ( China Daily)

Blooming history

Flower arrangement is seen as a standard pursuit for inner tranquility. Photos Provided to China Daily

Wang Lianying has been retracing the lost art of flower arrangement, recorded mostly in ancient Chinese paintings. The China Flower Arrangement Association director is now imparting her skills to the public at Beijing Forestry University. Zhang Lei reports.

We all know that flower arrangement is not as easy as it looks. But while there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, neither is it an academic discipline - except perhaps at Beijing Forestry University.

There, among the programs on soil conservation, landscape gardening and biotechnology, courses are held in the ancient and, at least in China, noble art.

The flower arrangement sessions draw in not only the regular students, but also members of the public, particularly locals, who are looking for an engaging but relaxing divertissement from their routine.

Adding to the floral attraction is the fact that the tutor, Wang Lianying, is the director of the China Flower Arrangement Association.

Her work on retracing the lost techniques, recorded mostly in ancient Chinese paintings, has brought her nationwide fame and a group of dedicated followers. In 2009, her flower arranging technique was included in the national intangible cultural heritage list.

"Ten years ago, such classes as these wouldn't get many enrollments," she says as she examines the work of her students, offering constructive criticism along the way.

Few of the uninitiated would notice the difference in what would appear to be minute changes in the arrangements, although to Wang, they make a world of difference.

"I have thumbed through more than 100 ancient drawing books to revive this old art," she says.

The Chinese stopped keeping a systematic record of the flower arrangement tradition more than 250 years ago.

The art was put on hold because of poverty and war in the mid-to-late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and it was not until the 1990s that the Chinese started to realize its importance in their culture, especially when Western and Japanese styles had become the tall poppies in the field.

Blooming history

Blooming history

 Underground art, literally The signs are good 

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